Canada denies Ateneo Blue Eagles comeback
MANILA, Philippines – Team Canada denied a spirited comeback by the Philippines-Ateneo Blue Eagles, 86-78, to remain undefeated in 3 games at the 40th William Jones Cup in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Tuesday, July 17.
Veteran forward Mike Nieto sank home a corner trey off a crucial 7-0 run to slice a game-high 24-point deficit down to 9, 67-76. After a few Canada free-throws, star Eagle Thirdy Ravena drained one more triple in transition to again cut within 10, 70-80, with 2 minutes left in regulation.
Matt Nieto then sank 4 freebies to inch within 6, 76-82, with 59 ticks left coming off stifling defense on the other end. Ravena had multiple chances to shave off more points from outside and in, but all attempts clanked off as Canada held on to its undefeated 3-0 record.
Four Eagles scored in double-figures, led by Matt Nieto’s 18 points. Ravena had another all-around line with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, one assist and a steal. For Canada, it was Shaquille Keith who led the early charge and late clamp-down efforts with 18 points, 6 boards and 5 assists. Connor Wood chipped in 16 with 5 boards and 3 steals.
Early in the 3rd, Michael Kyser crushed home a transition alley-oop from Shaquille Keith at the 7:36 mark to open up a game-high 24-point lead, 57-33, over the Philippine representatives. However, the star Eagle duo Ravena and Matt Nieto finally woke up from their slumber and combined for 15 3rd quarter points on a sterling 3/3 from downtown, two coming from Nieto.
After trailing by more than 20 points for most of the game, rarely-used bench man BJ Andrade was left open in the corner and buried a corner trey to cut within 13, 51-64, with 2:11 left in the period. Canada though still held a comfortable 68-54 lead after 3.
The relentless Blue Eagles managed to halve their big deficit down to 12 multiple times early in the fourth, but Canada did just enough to keep the Filipino hopes stunted.
A comeback effort wouldn’t have been necessary had Ateneo clamped down on defense early in the 1st, where Canada shot off to a massive 35-14 advantage.
Canada (86) - Keith 18, Wood 16, Thomas 14, Kyser 12, Stutz 10, Post 9, Campbell 7, Gyamfi 0.
Ateneo-PH (78) - Nieto, Ma. 18, Ravena 12, Wong 11, Nieto, Mi. 10, Go 8, Black 5, Navarro 4, Kouame 4, Andrade 3, Tio 2, Asistio 1, Maagdenberg 0.
Quarter Scores: 35-14, 51-27, 68-54, 86-78.